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Zakat is one of the five basic tenets of Islam. Zakat means purity. Thus, this implies that a man purifies his yearly earnings by giving away one part of it in the path of God. This further implies that man should understand that his earnings or his possessions are not a result of his own making but they are a bounty given by Allah. Thus, Zakat is, in essence, a practical acknowledgment of God’s bounties. And this admission is no doubt the greatest form of worship.
Payment of Zakat every year is obligatory, on every earning Muslim, at the minimum fixed rate of 2.5 percent per annum, on all wealth that is subject to growth. This amount is given for worthy religious causes ‘for the sake of God’ and for meeting the needs of the poor and the helpless.
Zakat management in India
Every year a considerable sum of money is donated in the name of Zakat in India. Have you ever wondered how much Zakat is being generated in India every year? Let’s assume that out of 15 million Muslims, only One Million contribute the minimum amount of Zakat for a lakh of rupees, which is Rs 2500. Even at these conservative figures, the amount comes out to Rs 25,000,000,000!!! And in reality, the actual amount is much more than this.
It leads one to wonder where all this money is being spent and by whom? According to sources, conservatively we can say that 80 percent of this amount is gobbled by the religious educational institutions. Fair enough, they have their expenses and need to be taken care of. But does this figure reflect in the quality of education imparted by them or the overall personalities of their students? No, not there, but in the style of living of their administrators!
Further according to sources this year most of the institutions that collect Zakat, are deducting 40 to 45 percent of the Zakat collected as administrative expenses, and these administrative expenses are completely unaccounted for. This leads us to surmise that our Zakat money is not being used properly and productively for the benefit of the Indian Muslims, to ameliorate their lot. Instead, it is being managed in an unsystematic, unprofessional, and individualistic manner.
Secondly, most of us consider giving out Zakat as a burden, not as a duty or as a contribution enjoined by Allah to spread joy and wealth within the community. Thirdly, Zakat collection has become a business and many institutes who collect and survive Zakat are doing it in a professional and unIslamic manner.
How to manage Zakat more productively
In the current scenario, it becomes incumbent on our religious scholars and leaders to ponder over this question. It would be prudent on their part to sit together and constitute a central Zakat Fund for the whole of India, with branches in every state capital and sub-branches in every big city and town.
Every Indian Muslim who has to pay Zakat should be directed to deposit his contributions in specified bank accounts managed by the Zakat Fund, which in turn should be managed by a committee of religious, community, and social leaders and professional accountants, and financial experts.
In addition, those who are not using banking or digital financial tools should deposit their Zakat in a box, which should be placed in every Masjid of the country, along with a box for contribution to the Masjid. These boxes should be opened quarterly and money deposited in the accounts of the Zakat Fund. The Imam and Mueizzins of the Masjids should be made responsible to manage these boxes and their contents. The Zakat Fund should pay the salaries of the Imams and Muezzins of the mosques, instead of them being disbursed by the respective state Waqf.
They should further be tasked to prepare a database of the needy and destitute in their locality and forward it to the state and central offices. This will engage the local Imams in the collection and disbursement of Zakat to the needy in their area based on real inputs. It will also empower them to handhold the families who are being given financial help, on how to better their life and circumstances and get out of poverty by pursuing education or a small business and other means to better their family situation instead of relying on community help for a lifetime. Once this starts happening in real terms, then we’ll find that the number of poor in the community has come down drastically, and instead once who were poor are now helping others.
The central committee of the Zakat Fund should oversee the total collections and their disbursement. First on the list should be the religious institutions, second destitute families and third would be community projects which would help the community in different fields like, education, medical facilities, scholarships, hostels, and educational expenses for the poor students and entrepreneurial seed funds for giving out loans to deserving individuals to start new ventures.
We can only imagine wishfully, if we have a Central Committee of committed elders who manages this money, then within a span of 2 to 5 years, we’ll be able to build a well-equipped hospital in every district of the country, a university in every state capital, a secondary school in every village, a degree college in every town and city and homes for destitute, widows, orphans and physically handicapped in every district of the country, to be used by every citizen of the country.
Personal Zakat management
Lastly, we should also discuss why most of us consider giving out Zakat as a burden. This is due to our own foolish thinking and money management and desire to get maximum benefit even for doing a good deed. A wrong perception prevails amongst most of us that Zakat should be given out in the month of Ramazan, as the reward for giving out alms in this month is 70 times more. Both these concepts are erroneous and unIslamic and have no mention in the Holy Quran.
So, to make our Zakat contribution easier on our pocket and also make it more fruitful, what we can do is to calculate our yearly Zakat and divide it by 12. This sum we should take out from our salary or business profits every month and keep aside and hand over to a needy as someone approaches us, instead of waiting for Ramazan. Remember, your Zakat for the next year becomes due as soon as the current year’s Ramazan ends, which means that you are continuously under obligation to the Almighty Allah to pay your Zakat.
These musings are just that of a common Muslim and are based on common sense and practical solutions. Let’s hope and pray that our community’s religious elders take heed of these ideas and suggestions. This will definitely make our community financially stronger and self-sustainable in a short time and also contribute to the welfare of our brethren in the country through institutions and programs managed by our Zakat Fund. Ameen. (IANS/SP)
(Asad Mirza is a political commentator based in New Delhi.)
The Mysore kingdom became a popular tourist destination after India became an independent country. The Wodeyar dynasty who succeeded Tipu Sultan are still royalty, but they do not rule the state. Their heritage and culture have become what Karnataka is famous for.
Among the many things that Mysore offers to the state of Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is one. In north India, various cultures have their own headgears. They wear their traditional outfits on the days of festivities and ceremonies. Likewise, in the south, especially in Karnataka, the Mysore Peta is worn.
Made of the traditional Mysore silk, the Peta is usually a white turban decorated with a gold silk thread. It is worn by the Maharaja of Mysore during Dasara, or any other public appearance. This tradition has been preserved and is used all over the state by prominent leaders.
Politicians who want to appease older, more experienced politicians, offer a peta as a sign of honour. International guests are welcomed into the city with a peta and silk shawl. In universities, the peta is worn as a replacement to the black caps, as a sign of graduation and scholarship.
Even today, in the court of Mysore, petas are worn and given out as tokens of honour. The peta of the king varies from the ones a courtier wears, and even among them, there is a difference according to status. Petas are made by a particular family and passed down from generation to generation.
Keywords: Mysore kingdom, peta, silk, Wodeyar
Renowned feminist activist, author, and a face of the women's rights movement in India, Kamla Bhasin, passed away today morning at the age of 74.
The news of the same was shared by activist Kavita Srivastava on Twitter. The tweet said, "Kamla Bhasin, our dear friend, passed away around 3am today 25th Sept. This is a big setback for the women's movement in India and the South Asian region. She celebrated life whatever the adversity. Kamla you will always live in our hearts. In Sisterhood, which is in deep grief."
Bhasin, since the 1970s, has been an advocate of women's movement not just in India but other South Asian countries as well. In fact, in 2002, she founded a feminist network named as 'Sangat', which only motive was to work with underprivileged women from rural and tribal communities, often by using non-literary tools like plays, songs, and art.
Having a Master's degree in literature, Bhasin has written many books on gender theory and feminism, and interestingly, many of them have been translated into more than 30 languages. Another quick fact revolving around Bhasin is that the chant of 'Azadi', which is often heard at protests and rallies, was first popularised by her as feminist slogan against patriarchy.
Bhasin was awarded with the "Laadli Life Time Achievement Award" in the year 2017 for her commendable work.
Keywords: Kamla Bhasin, Feminism, India, Patriarchy, Literature, Feminist, Women, Rights
The 76th United Nations General Assembly session opened discussion on 14th September. The high-level General debate began on 21st September and it will continue till 27th September. The agenda of this year's UNGA session is 'Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations'. Only 109 heads of state and government will attend the session in person and approximately 60 other speakers will address the debate via pre-recorded video statements due to the ongoing pandemic.
PM Narendra Modi is the first world leader who has been scheduled to address the General Assembly. He landed in New York at 6:00 AM (IST). "Landed in New York City. Will be addressing the UNGA at 6:30 PM (IST) on the 25th," he tweeted. He was received at the airport by India's permanent representative to the UN ambassador Mr. T S Tirumurti and ambassador of India to the USA Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu.
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Before leaving for US PM Modi said, "I will be visiting the USA from 22-25 September 2021 at the invitation of His Excellency President Joe Biden of the United States of America. During my visit, I will review the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership with President Biden and exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest".
During his 5-day visit to the US PM Modi held his first bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden in the oval office of the white house. It was their first in-person meet-up after meeting on virtual mode on three different occasions. He also held a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris joined by the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga. He held one on one meeting with the CEOs of some top companies like Qualcomm, Adobe, First Solar, General Atomics, and Blackstone. PM Modi participated in the Quad Summit held on Friday, in which the fight against Covid, climate change counterterrorism, along free and open Indo-Pacific, were the key concerns of the discussion. He also took part in Covid-19 Global Summit hosted by US President Joe Biden. Pakistan's role in terrorism was also heavily discussed
PM held a meeting with US Vice President Kamala Harris joined by the Prime Minister of Australia and Japan. Twitter
Today, 25th September 2021 PM Narendra Modi will address the 76th UNGA session at 6:30 PM (IST) which will be live-streamed on various social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. PM Modi will talk about issues concerning pressing global challenges which will include the COVID-19 pandemic, the need to combat terrorism, climate change, and other important issues. It was in 2019 when PM Modi addressed the UN General Assembly physically as the pandemic went global in 2020, the 75th UNGA was held online where the speakers pre-recorded their speeches. In 2021, the option to pre-record statements has been kept open for the world leaders as the pandemic is worsening in some countries.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will fly back to India after addressing the United Nations General Assembly.